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Driver Lifestyles

Trucking is a job filled with isolation: Stay Connected

By Sandy Long
Posted Nov 20th 2012 3:05AM

Trucking is a job filled with isolation in a crowd.   There may be hundreds of other vehicles on the road with you just as there may be hundreds of other truckers in the truck stop you are sitting in, but you are alone or just with your partner.   While teaming helps alleviate the isolation, after awhile, even your partner and you run out of things beyond business to talk about, you need outside input.

What brings two truckers together?   In some aspects, it is the camaraderie of the road, shared experiences and lifestyles.   In other ways, many factors bring two drivers together, working for the same company, living in the same area, loading at the same places or just striking up a conversation at the coffee machine.  

Truck drivers are a garrulous lot; most are always ready to tell a tale, gripe about traffic or a thousand other slights, errors, issue, or share stories about their kids or grandkids.   The key is to get them talking.   It used to be very easy back in the day of the round table in the driver’s section in the restaurant; you could just go in, pull up a chair and you were one of the bunch.   Today it is different, though thanks to whoever it was who invented the internet and cell phones, they make finding and keeping friends simpler.

It is amazing how close two people can become talking on the phone or emailing even if they never meet eye to eye.   Friendships develop as the two share life’s journeys through good times and bad, sometimes that bond becomes stronger than one’s ties with blood relations especially between two truckers.   After all, another trucker understands one’s sense of humor, concerns and the job better than non trucking people.

The internet has led to my making several dear friends and many acquaintances.   When I first went online in 2003, I was on a woman’s yahoo group where I was posting responses to newbees and wannabees.   On that site was a woman, loracyak; Carol to friends.   Carol is a long time driver who started to drive legally in 1973.   Carol liked my posts and then my articles at an online magazine I wrote for back then; we became friends first only online, then by phone.

Carol lives outside of St Louis and finally we were able to match schedules long enough for us to stop to have a quick coffee and meet face to face.   You would have thought we were long lost sisters and I am sure that there were some strange looks thrown our way as we hugged and laughed.   We have only met for coffee one other time since then, it is the way it is with truck drivers sometimes.

Carol has been a delight in my life giving me someone to talk about other things than just trucks and to exchange stories about ”˜the good ol’ days’ when there were few of us women drivers on the road.   Sadly, Carol is fighting a battle with cancer now and though she can no longer speak, her husband holds the cell phone near her ear so she can hear me and I text her often.

Calvin was a flatbedder as I was back in 2001 or 2002 when we loaded at the same spot in Oregon.   He was amazed at a lady flatbedder who threw her own chains and tarps and did not ask for any help.   We spoke a little and went our ways.   Later that day at a rest area going east, I came out of the building to find Calvin checking the securement on his load.   We sat and talked an hour or two and exchanged numbers.   Since then, after thousands of hours of talking on the phone, Calvin has become my big brother, me his little sister, and we still talk often though we may never meet again.

The camaraderie of the old days may be lost and gone, but a new style of camaraderie has taken its place.   Social media sites give instantaneous communication options, forums like the one at ExpeditersOnline.com and of course, the cell phone, the greatest invention for truckers since the cb radio, are the main ways of keeping the camaraderie going with trucking and non-trucking friends and family.   There are glimmers of the old days left though, have a problem with your truck and if there is another trucker around, you will have them stopping by to see if they can help; it is the way it is in the world of trucking.

4 Comments

  • - November 21, 2012
    India-=|=-What a great article! I wondered if other people felt the way we do on the road. I love meeting other drivers and sharing stories when we are sitting. Sometimes we can even spot another driver in a Wal-Mart stocking up on the same things we are buying.
  • - November 21, 2012
    India-=|=-What a great article! I wondered if other people felt the way we do on the road. I love meeting other drivers and sharing stories when we are sitting. Sometimes we can even spot another driver in a Wal-Mart stocking up on the same things we are buying.
  • - December 2, 2012
    Sandy Long-=|=-Yes India,many of us feel that way. It is harder I think for women these days than it was years ago. A few years ago, I had a lady driver walk up to me while I was walking Lilly. I found it strange when she asked if she could just 'talk' to me...I immediately asked if there was a problem, she replied, "no, I am just lonely." We chatted a few minutes about nothing much at all.

    The above led me to start paying attention to women on the road. It used to be when two women drivers passed each other, they would wave and smile. If for instance, if I in the ladies room identified another woman driver, would speak to her and she would speak to me. These days, few women return my wave or smile and if I try to start a conversation in a warehouse or truckstop with another woman driver, they do not want to talk, acting almost like they are scared.

    I think that while cell phones and the internet have made things easier in some ways, in some other ways, those same things can add to the isolation of some of us.

    So, take the time to wave and smile...and who knows, it might be me in that other truck! LOL

    Thank you for your kind words about the article. :-)

  • - December 2, 2012
    Sandy Long-=|=-Yes India,many of us feel that way. It is harder I think for women these days than it was years ago. A few years ago, I had a lady driver walk up to me while I was walking Lilly. I found it strange when she asked if she could just 'talk' to me...I immediately asked if there was a problem, she replied, "no, I am just lonely." We chatted a few minutes about nothing much at all.

    The above led me to start paying attention to women on the road. It used to be when two women drivers passed each other, they would wave and smile. If for instance, if I in the ladies room identified another woman driver, would speak to her and she would speak to me. These days, few women return my wave or smile and if I try to start a conversation in a warehouse or truckstop with another woman driver, they do not want to talk, acting almost like they are scared.

    I think that while cell phones and the internet have made things easier in some ways, in some other ways, those same things can add to the isolation of some of us.

    So, take the time to wave and smile...and who knows, it might be me in that other truck! LOL

    Thank you for your kind words about the article. :-)

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